Warming Up with Meatless Monday

It's pretty frosty here, the temperature is plunging, the roads are icy and the schools are closed.  And I for one, am not going anywhere.  Instead I'm cooking up a super simple, warm & nutritious dinner in my trusty crockpot.  How about a little Spiced Chickpea, Squash & Bean Stew with a side of Socca?  Just the thing to warm up with after shovelling snow! Here's my twist on a recipe I found from Eat, Live, Run.

Spiced Chickpea, Squash & Bean Stew

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2-3 tsp Garam Masala
1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs–average sized), peeled and chopped
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 quart vegetable broth
1 cup dried beans (navy, romano, whatever you have. I used a 3 bean combo of mung, adzuki & lentils)
1 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 can of black beans, drained & rinsed (or use more chickpeas or another bean in the pantry)
1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
fresh minced cilantro (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pan on medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and jalapeno and saute for about six minutes or until onions are translucent.  Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 more seconds, and then add the garam masala, stirring well to coat. Remove from  heat.

Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, beans, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on low and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer it cooks, the stewy-er it will be!  Season with sea salt to taste and serve with minced cilantro on top.Would be lovely with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt too!

Too late for the slow cooker? This recipe can easily be modified for stove top cooking.  Instead of sauteing onion, carrot & jalapeno in a pan, instead use a large pot.  Then add the rest of your ingredients to the pot and cook.  Bring to bubbling, then turn down heat and simmer on low for a couple hours until squash is nice and tender and your stew is thick.  Piece of cake!

I will be serving this hearty stew with some homemade Socca.  What's Socca?  Socca is a traditional dish from Nice, France made from chickpea flour.  The crispy-edged and pancake-thin slices have a sweet and nutty flavor of chickpea, but they're also a little smoky from some time under the broiler. And the best part is they are gluten-free & vegan.  Sweet!

So I'm whipping up a quick batch tonight for dipping and scooping this lovely stew.  Try this easy Socca recipe from The Kitchn and let me know what you think!

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